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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

What domestic violence is and who potential victims can be

Domestic violence is defined by the Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women as one individual in a relationship engaging in abusive behavior against another. It's thought to be a type of patterned, intentionally intimidating type of abuse that aims to demonstrate one party's control over another. It has been cited by the Surgeon General's Office to be among one of the leading health issues in the United States today.

Domestic violence can take on many forms. Under the umbrella of domestic abuse, there is physical, emotional, sexual, economic and psychological abuse. Threatening another individual and stalking them, either physically or online, are also seen as examples of domestic violence.

Hitting, slapping, shoving, burning or pulling a victim's hair are just some examples of physical abuse. Any type of intimidating behaviors that would undermine an individual's self-worth or an abuser intimidating his or her victim by threat of harm to him or herself or another is deemed to be the emotional or psychological variety of domestic violence.

Sexual abuse is deemed to have occurred when an individual is either forced or otherwise coerced to participate in unwanted or non-consensual sexual activity. As for economic abuse, it is said to occur when an abuser seems to demand of its victim that he or she relies either largely or in the entirety on his or her partner for financial support.

Additionally, any restrictions placed on the individual to either go to work or school to earn a living or improve his or her marketable skills can also be seen as domestic violence. Stalking an individual, whether it comes in the form of making repeated calls to him or her, visiting his or her workplace or home or continuing to attempt to make contact with him or her online is also seen as domestic violence.

As for who can be classified as a victim of domestic violence, you don't have to be in a romantic relationship with an individual for he or she to be classified as your victim. Instead, you can be charged with domestic violence in subjecting your children, roommates and other family members to such behavior as well.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, a Van Nuys, California, criminal defense attorney can advise you as to the many defenses you may pursue in your legal case.

Source:, "What is domestic violence?," accessed April 14, 2017

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